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TV Ratings: Arsenio Hall's Syndicated Return Tops Late Night

Returning to the circuit with his CBS Television Distribution talk show, the '90s favorite opens at the top nationwide among targeted demos and bests original competition in Jay Leno, Jimmy Kimmel and David Letterman.

Arsenio Hall Show Paula Abdul - H 2013
Arsenio Hall and Paula Abdul

Syndication in 95 percent of the country was enough for Arsenio Hall to top late night during his Monday return.

The host launched his self-titled talker from CBS Television Distribution with wins in both the adults 18-49 and 25-54 demographics, besting original competition in Big Four efforts Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Late Night With David Letterman and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno.

STORY: Arsenio Hall Reveals Plan to Retake Late Night

Arsenio averaged a 1.0 rating with 18-49-ers and a 1.2 rating with adults 25-54 in Nielsen’s Local People Meter Markets. Both figures top all competition nationwide and in key markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Chicago.

By comparison, Kimmel was closest (0.8 adults 18-49, 1.0 adults 25-54), followed by Letterman (0.7 adults 18-49, 1.0 adults 25-54) and Leno (0.6 adults 18-49, 0.9 adults 25-54).

The households average for Arsenio nearly doubled year-ago time period averages with a 1.9 rating and 4 share for Tribune Broadcasting nets.

Preliminary returns are obviously subject to change -- but the first numbers are an unquestionable win for Hall, whose last gig as a late-night host ended almost 20 years ago.